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Woman Outraged After Coworker Refuses To Reimburse Her For Expensive Fish Tank They Destroyed

Svetlana Gustova / EyeEm / Getty Images

It’s easy enough to make a mistake. If you accidentally hurt someone, you can apologize and if they forgive you, things move on.

Redditor Judith_mayo made her own mistake and destroyed her co-worker’s office aquarium. The original poster (OP) tried to apologize but it wasn’t enough for her co-worker.

OP wasn’t sure if they were wrong for refusing their co-worker’s request and decided to ask the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subreddit about it.

OP wasn’t sure if they should do anything about the aquarium.  

“AITA for not wanting to pay for my coworkers new aquarium?”

Was it really their fault?

“My coworker has a 20 gallon aquarium in her office that’s been there a year. It’s sitting on a very long shelf.”

“With out thinking I leaned on the shelf with my full weight getting something from her desk. When I stopped leaning the shelf shook and the tank fell and shattered all over the floor.”

“She was a lunch when this happened. Some of the techs helped me get all her female betta into cups.”

“When she came back from lunch she freaked out and screamed at me telling me no one should have been in her office to begin with with her not being there.”

“4 of her 7 betta died and about half her plants. She brought me a receipt this morning saying I need to reimburse her. It came out to $250 worth of plants, rocks, and other stuff which is insane.”

“She also told me that she has ordered $75 worth of specially bread betta females from the same breeder she got her previous fish from. She said sororities are extremely hard to keep and that I just added stress because now she has to start over.”

“Half of my office says I should not have to pay for it because it was her choice to build it and the other half say I should.”

“Would I really be the a**hole if I refused to pay?”

“She should have had a sign saying don’t touch the shelf it it was that flimsy.”

On the AITA subReddit, people are judged for their actions. Other users vote to determine whether or not they were wrong.

This is done by including one of the following in their responding comment:

  • NTA – Not the A**hole
  • YTA – You’re the A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everybody Sucks Here

The commenters agreed that it was obviously OP’s fault. They fully admitted to breaking the aquarium by leaning on the shelf.

Aquariums can be expensive, and her coworker put a lot into hers.

“YTA. You destroyed her property, killed her fish, and are not taking any responsibility for your f*** up.”

“If what she says is true, that you shouldn’t have been in her office, add that to the list of other reasons you’re TA.”Mammoth-Neat-6393

“YTA. You caused the tank to fall. And why were you in her office when she wasn’t there? Why the hell are you leaning your full weight against an aquarium in the first place?”lihzee


“Why were you in her office if she wasn’t there?”

“Why weren’t you more careful if you know there is a 20 gallon aquarium in her office?”

“‘She should have had a sign saying don’t touch the shelf?’ Are you a kid?”

“Please don’t be an AH and pay her, you broke it and killed some of her animals.”pinkbutterfly26

“YTA. This shouldn’t even be a question – you shattered someone’s property while being in their space (without permission no less) and are responsible for the damage you caused.”

“I keep fish as well and the amount she gave you is PERFECTLY in line with the damage you have done, and even sounds a little on the cheap side.”CallieSol

There wasn’t really a good reason to blame the coworker, which is what confused some commenters the most.


“What the f***? You’re blaming her? When you’re the one to clearly admit that you had caused this?”

“If she had gotten approval from HR or the building owner or whoever is in charge of office changes she’s allowed the aquarium. If it’s been there for so long that’s likely the case.”

“What, did you, like, climb up onto the table or something? Putting your whole weight on it? That was irresponsible and you should pay full cost for replacing it”Crafty-Koshka

“Exactly, they’d literally need to climb on the tank to knock over 200 pounds of water, rocks, and glass.”

“ALSO…Why are they in the office? What were they reaching for? Why were they even touching anything at all? There is so much more missing.”

“I guarantee the whole story is somehow even more awful than what we know. I can’t stop picturing that the real story is that OP tried to get in the tank. 🤪”FudgreaTheDestroyer

“So you’re that person that breaks people’s stuff and refuses to pay for a replacement because they shouldn’t have had that nice thing. Thankfully, I’ve never met one of you IRL.”


“One of my old neighbours lost control of his dog and his dog ran up to my dog which was just chilling in my yard and it ended up with a vet fee of £200. He then refused to pay.”

“Got him through small claims court, ruled in my favour. He never even responded to the summons. Still didn’t get my £200 but he took a hit to his credit rating for the next 6 years.”

“OP you are 100% the AH. Especially because it involves living beings and you are being nonchalant about it.”

“You have no concept of how much a person can love any kind of living creature regardless of their form.”iGetTheR-Pass

After all the comments, OP saw the error of their ways and changed their mind.

“Update: I am aware that IATA ok. I will be paying for anything and everything that she needs.”

“I wrote this when I was in shock due to the cost but you have made me realize I am 100% wrong. I will also be giving her extra for compensation.”

OP learned their lesson.

It’s easy enough to make the mistake of not taking responsibility when you’re in shock of everything happening at once.

But it shouldn’t take several dozen internet strangers for you to get the picture.

Written by Ben Acosta

Ben Acosta is an Arizona-based fiction author and freelance writer. In his free time, he critiques media and acts in local stage productions.